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The Answer to Darfur: How to Resolve the World’s Hottest War

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Though it has garnered the concern and condemnation of governments worldwide and triggered unprecedented grassroots activism in the United States, the crisis in Darfur continues to intensify. In response to what both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government have repeatedly called genocide, the gulf between rhetoric and action on the part of the Bush administration is profound. What is driving U.S. policy and that of the broader international community is a strategy of constructive engagement with the Khartoum regime driven either by considerations of counterterrorism (United States), commercial connections (China, Russia, and some other Asian and European countries), and solidarity (Arab League).

Four years into the Darfur crisis, it is imperative to take a fresh look—at what has led to successful outcomes in past efforts to affect the Khartoum regime, and what is urgently needed today.

A policy of gentle persuasion—interrupted occasionally with public statements and resolutions that suggest but do not lead to increased pressure on Khartoum—has encouraged the Sudanese regime to intensify its divide and destroy policy in Darfur, particularly in the aftermath of the May 2006 signing of the deeply flawed Darfur Peace Agreement. Regime officials have heard the message loud and clear: crime pays. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir felt so emboldened in early March that, in a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, he clearly rejected an internationally negotiated plan to deploy a United Nations/African Union hybrid force.